Category: Climate Change

Report: Climate Change Poised to Deprive the Poor of Clean Water

To mark World Water Day on March 22, WaterAid released its State of the World’s Water report, warning that because of climate change, the world’s poorest communities will face an even tougher struggle for access to clean water. Countries ranking highest in population without access to clean water also rank high in vulnerability to climate change and low in their ability to adapt to it. “Extreme weather events resulting from climate change can mean more storm surges, flooding, droughts and contaminated water sources. They can wipe out fragile infrastructure, dry up rivers, ponds and springs, and contribute to the spread of waterborne diseases making an already difficult...

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Good News for the Planet: Solar is set to Triple in the Next 5 Years in the U.S.

Even though the president and his cabinet deny climate change and have given the cold shoulder to renewable energies, that doesn’t mean the rest of us have. In fact, solar power is booming in the U.S., and it looks like that trend won’t be stopping anytime soon. During 2016, the annual U.S. solar photovoltaic (PV) system installations nearly doubled, according to the U.S. Solar Market Insight 2016 Year-in-Review report. Not only that, representing 39 percent of electricity generating capacity, solar power was the largest new source of energy in 2016, even surpassing natural gas and wind power. “It would...

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Study Finds Fracking Caused 6,600 Oil Spills in Only Four States

Fracking is causing more toxic, chemical-laden water to spill into our earth than previously estimated by the EPA, a new study found. The study, which was conducted from 2004-2015 by researchers from Duke University, looked at the frequency and size of oil and gas spills in four states—Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota and Pennsylvania—and found that fracking caused 6,647 spills in 10 years. The researchers created an interactive map to plot the spills. North Dakota had the most spills (4,453 incidents), followed by Pennsylvania (1,293 incidents), Colorado (475 incidents), and New Mexico (426 incidents). “Given the rapid recent development of...

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How A San Francisco Biologist Saved a Butterfly Species in His Own Backyard

Though not yet extinct, Northern California’s native Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly was a rare find and had all but vanished from San Francisco. Tim Wong, known as the “Butterfly Whisperer,” has single-handedly repopulated the species. As a volunteer at the San Francisco Botanical Garden, Wong was able to get a few clippings of the rare California Pipevine, which will sometimes fly to death to find the delicate vine where it lays its eggs. Wong gathered up caterpillars and built a screen-sheltered ecosystem in his backyard. The caterpillars survive by eating this same host plant. Once the caterpillar pupates, a chrysalis forms. At...

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Record-Setting 14 Million Pounds of Batteries Recycled in 2016

North Americans love technology — and energy-sucking technology loves batteries. Luckily, consumers are getting better at recycling them. 14 million pounds of batteries were collected in the United States and Canada in 2016, marking a 20-year consecutive increase, according to Call2Recycle, a recycling organization founded in 1994 by five battery companies that wanted to address the disposal of rechargeable batteries. This translates into 129 million pounds of recyclable material that bypassed landfills for over two decades. “Virtually all battery chemistries can be recycled,” said Call2Recycle CEO Carl Smith in an interview with Lady Freethinker. “Including your commonly used alkaline...

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How Your Rice can Save the Planet (and Help Women, Too)

The “Mother of All Basmati Rice” is heading to the United States for the first time. Lotus Foods, a sustainable rice company based in California, will introduce their specialty varieties of the coveted Dehraduni Basmati rice and Phka Malis jasmine rice. Keeping with their motto, “Healthier Rice for a Healthier Life,” these producers provide organic and fair trade crops with people and planet in mind. Rice from Lotus Foods is grown using the More Crop Per Drop (MCPD) methodology. In an interview with Lady Freethinker, Co-CEO Caryl Levine described MCPD as “a different way of cultivating rice that enables...

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Renewable Energy Gives Major Boost to California Economy

Transitioning to renewable energy has significant economic benefits, according to a new study on the effects of California’s major climate programs in the San Joaquin Valley. The study, conducted by the University of California, evaluated cap-and-trade — the Renewables Portfolio Standard that requires all retail electricity sellers to produce 33 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources. “The Valley has a lot of carbon-intensive industries,” lead author of the report, Betony Jones, explained in a press release, “so the economic costs of climate policies were quickly evident.” The boost shouldn’t be surprising. Other studies have shown similar, positive...

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Since Shutting Down Coal, Ontario Has Much Cleaner, Healthier Air

Between 2005 and 2014, Ontario phased out its coal-fired power plants — and the numbers show that air quality has improved immensely.  In fact, Ontario has only experienced only one smog filled day since 2014, according to the President and CEO of the Asthma Society of Canada, Vanessa Foran. “Let’s compare that to 2005 when residents of the Greater Toronto Area suffered through 53 smog days while coal, with its toxic emissions, provided 19 percent of the province’s power,” Foran said in a press release. “From this fact alone, it’s obvious shutting Ontario’s coal plants has helped clean the province’s air...

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